CAROL CARTER AND EDYTHE JASON PERFORM "HAVING OUR SAY"
BY EMILY MANN, ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK BY SARAH L. DELANY AND A. ELIZABETH DELANY
WITH AMY HILL HEARTH.
Black History of the American 20th century is refracted through
the eyes of two centenarian sisters.
Presentation by The Morningside Players is inaugural theater production of North of History, a new performance/gallery space located at 445 Columbus Ave. (between 81st & 82nd Streets)
WHERE AND WHEN:
February 16 to March 5, 2018
North of History, 445 Columbus Ave. (between 81st and 82nd Street)
Presented by The Morningside Players in association with North of History, a program of New Vision
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays and Mondays at 7:00 PM
$18 general admission, $12 seniors and Students.
Box office 646-200-5089 or www.morningsideplayers.org
Running time: 2 hours with intermission.
Critics are invited on or after February 18
Photos are available for download at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/9cPmpzlmRCG3GxNm2
NEW YORK, January 28 -- From February 16 to March 5, The Morningside Players will present Carol Carter and Edythe Jason in "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years" by Emily Mann, adapted from the book by Sarah H. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth. It will be the inaugural theater production at North of History, a new performance/gallery space founded by Gene Kaufman that is located at 445 Columbus Ave. (between 81st and 82nd Street). Edgar Chisholm directs.
The play is a tour-de-force for two black actresses. We enter the home of two centenarian sisters: Sadie Delany, a retired teacher, age 103 and her kid sister, Bessie Delany, a retired dentist, age 101. Like molasses and vinegar, these daughters of a former slave were always temperamental opposites, but together they grew up in the Jim Crow South, lived in Harlem during its renaissance and had professional careers. While making dinner to remember their father’s birthday, the two sisters tell us of the last century as they lived it – through stories of racial injustice and personal strife, unified by faith, family, and time.
The play premiered in 1995 at the McCarter Theatre directed by Emily Mann. It moved to Broadway the same year, starring the McCarter cast of Mary Alice (as Bessie) and Gloria Foster (as Sadie) and was nominated for three Tony Awards: for Play, Actress (Mary Alice) and Director (Mann). It became a CBS Teleplay with Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll in 1999.
The play was adapted by Emily Mann from the 1993 best-selling oral history of the same name. The Delany sisters, daughters of the first African-American elected Bishop in the Episcopal Church, were civil rights pioneers, but their stories were largely unknown until Amy Hill Hearth, a reporter for The New York Times, interviewed them for a feature story in 1991, then expanded her story into book form. Bessie, the dentist and "saltier" sister, died in 1994 at age 104. Sadie, the more optimistic sister and a longtime teacher in the New York City school system, died in 1999 at age 109.
Carol Carter (Sadie) has appeared Morningside Players' productions of "Fences" (2015 AUDELCO Award, Best Revival), The Old Settler" (2014 AUDELCO Award, Best Revival) and "A Raisin in the Sun" (2012 AUDELCO Award nominee, Best Revival). She has also appeared with August Strindberg Rep in "Easter" and "The Road to Damascus Part 1" by August Strindberg and "Journey in Light and Shadow" by Stig Dalager. At Theater for the New City, she appeared with Xoregos Performing Co. in "Songs of the Harlem River-Five Forgotten One Acts."
Edythe Jason (Bessie) was last seen as Maumau in the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company's production of "Daughters of the Mock" (2017 AUDELCO Award, Outstanding Ensemble Performance). Other roles include: Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" (Crossroads Theatre Production and tour), Ruth in "A Raisin in the Sun," Rose in "Fences," the title character in "Eslanda Robeson," Old Woman in "A Lovely Malfunction," Dr. Bridges in "Timeless," Clare Boudreaux in "Indigo Blues," Lola in "Jar the Floor," Sophie Washington in "Flying West," Sister Moore in "The Amen Corner" and Reverend Mother in "Fortunes of the Moor." She hold the BA degree from Fisk University and an MM degree from Indiana University. She studied acting with William Esper and at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
Edgar Chisholm (Director) is an international award winning playwright, director, and producer. He translated August Strindberg Rep's 2014 production of "Miss Julie," which transported the play into the American Antebellum South, and adapted its 2016 production of "Damascus II," which was based on August Strindberg's "To Damascus, Part 2." His plays include "Without Love,” which he directed on an east coast tour; "Holiday Diary" (National Federation of Community Broadcasters Silver Reel Award), which he directed at Lincoln Center Directors Lab; "Bringin' Back Jesus," a Lincoln Center presentation, as part of the Bible Project at the HERE; "The Long Dance" (2010 Raymond J. Flores Playwriting Prize and 2003 Eileen Heckart Drama Award) and "Unfinished Work" (2003 New American Playwrights Festival Award). His work was recently presented at the Association for Jewish Theatre Conference in Chicago. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, a founding member of Harlem Arts Alliance, a member of Uptown playwrights workshop, Manhattan Oracles, 29th street Playwrights Collective and a director and board member of Polaris North Theatre Workshop. He is executive producer of the theatrically released 2010 film, "Deceptive." He is the winner of the 2017 Segora International Writing Competition in Orange, France.
The Morningside Players are very grateful to North of History for the wonderful opportunity to present this play while their own performance space at 100 La Salle Street is being renovated. Originally founded in 1974 by Dr. Paul Kozelka of Teachers College, the troupe has risen over the years to become a highly respected AEA theater source in Morningside Heights. The company won 2015 and 2014 AUDELCO awards for "Fences" and "The Old Settler" and has received several recent grants from Columbia University. Other notable productions have included "A Month in the Country," "Frost/Nixon," "All My Sons," The Devil's Disciple," "Mrs. Farnsworth," (all at 100 La Salle Street), "Althea: She Went to Hell" (at MITF) and several new works including the award winning new play "Lillian. Paula. Carson." by resident playwright John Barrow. Susanna Frazer (SDC, AEA,SAG-AFTRA, The Dramatists Guild) is the current artistic director www.morningsideplayers.org
North of History, a "popup" gallery and performance space, was created by architect Gene Kaufman to present plays and art exhibits by a broad range of under-represented artists who will use the space for performances, exhibitions, concerts and interactive art displays. It is a flexible space located in a former storefront at 445 Columbus Ave. between 81st and 82nd Streets, within sight of the Museum of Natural History. North of History is a project of New Vision, a nonprofit arts organization founded by Mr. Kaufman.
The space illustrates the expansion of the alternative art scene into multi-use spaces. "Due to rising real estate prices and business licensing obstacles, maintaining an art space in New York City is increasingly difficult, even though the art itself is alive and well," said Gene Kaufman, whose wife Terry Eder is a concert pianist. "As a result, we must expand the definition of 'gallery,' 'concert venue' and other terms in an effort to fully integrate the arts into neighborhoods across the city."
Producers for The Morningside Players are Susanna Frazer and Tina Lumley. Lighting, sound and projection design are by Patrick Mahaney. Costume design is by Cecelia Riddett. Stage manager is Zachary Weg.
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CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after February 18.